Ditching Snowdon

Interesting reports in the media today.

A county councillor has apparently asked the Snowdonia National Park Authority (Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) to stop using the Anglo-Saxon name for GW/NW-001, Snowdon, instead using exclusively the Welsh name, Yr Wyddfa. It was also proposed that the region should be referred to solely as Eryri rather than Snowdonia. The motion wasn’t taken forward yet but perhaps this will gain traction in the future.

Of course there are parallels around the world, such as VK8/UL-043, Uluru / Ayres Rock and KLF/DE-001 Denali.

Bearing in mind the attrition of Welsh place names this seems sensible and uncontroversial to me.


If Welsh speakers want to use Welsh names, that is their right. However English speakers should not be coerced into abandoning traditional English names. There is plenty of bilingual signage in Wales, though it is often defaced by the Welsh language mafia, so there is no reason why dual language naming shouldn’t continue.


I don’t really have a problem with the people in Wales calling it whatever they wish as long as we are still allowed to climb it! Several years ago I walked up on the Pyg track and after my activation I went into the cafe at the summit. Whilst enjoying my pie and coffee I heard an announcement in Welsh coming over the loudspeaker and nobody seemed to do anything. Then an announcement was made in English for people travelling by train to board now for the return journey! The cafe was almost cleared of visitors leaving just a handful of walkers sat smugly watching the world go by! Obviously they must have been non Welsh speaking holidaymakers. I am a great supporter of protecting cultural heritage and language and I wonder if Cornwall (Kernow) will rename their summits in Cornish?

Does that go for Bombay and Peking as well Brian?

Oh, and Edmund’s Tump for that matter?


It shouldn’t affect DC-006 anyway, Carnmenellis is an authentic Cornish name! Cornish is a special case, anyway. As a spoken language it died out completely by the 19th century and would have been completely lost but for the efforts of a few antiquarians gathering scraps of written Cornish, to the point where Morton Nance was able by 1929 to produce a viable Cornish grammar by filling gaps using Welsh, Breton and Middle English. Improvements have been made since, but frankly I sometimes think that re-animating the corpse of Cornish is just a romantic gesture.

Oh what fun! Should we drop our use of Warsaw or Kiev? Should we say Paris or Paree? Should we insist that the French drop their French spellings (and pronounciations) of English names? Should the packets of spice mix for delicious Bombay potatoes be changed? Its all a matter of opinion.

By the way, “Tump” is a dialect term for a mound or hillock in both the west of England and in South Wales - probably in the latter, I would guess, because many workers emigrated to South Wales during the industrial revolution. Edmund’s Tump is a perfectly valid name.

With the English being notoriously poor at respecting the languages other people use coercion is perhaps all that works!

No, merely the pranks of children. I don’t think it’s common nowadays.

Well you might say with respect to Welsh that this is precisely the point! A century ago the area was mostly monolingual Welsh. This is no longer true. “Colonisation” by English one might say.

I wonder just how “traditional” is the “Snowdon” name. Obviously it is old, being Anglo-Saxon, but I think its popularity started with the Victorian tourism industry. The railway I volunteer for bears some of the blame, I suppose, having had a “South Snowdon” station (1881 I think - now Rhyd Ddu).

The name stands out at the top of our listing as one of very few non-Welsh names in the region. The few other examples are:

  • Holyhead Mountain, GW/NW-069
    This should really be Mynydd Tŵr - named after the tower (long-since ruined) on the summit, supposed to have been a lookout for the Roman fort.
  • Great Orme, GW/NW-070
    Another Anglo-Saxon name, applied to Y Gogarth. I don’t know what that means, but it’s much more exciting than a worm!
  • Hope Mountain, GW/NW-062
    Maybe that one’s fair enough as the Welsh name for the village, Yr Hôb, derives from Old English.

At least GW/NW-001 has both names in the Relative Hills of Britain (and therefore SOTA) listings. I don’t understand why the Welsh names for the other summits were excluded.

Yr Wyddfa is a much more pleasant, rounded name. Snowdon is relatively harsh and ugly in my opinion.

If you stopped a random hiker on the way down and asked “How did you like yr Wyddfa” I think 9 times out of 10 you’d be met with a blank stare. Giving greater prominence might help. And why is it Snowdon first? The usual practice in north Wales is to put the Welsh name first!

Seeing as the Welsh word for a train is simply “trên” they really should have been able to guess. What did they think it meant? - “Stand clear. The next train to arrive will not stop” !!

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Oh, and I was a right chump forgetting to paste a link to a Welsh version of the story.

You’ve earned your SOTA stripes if you remember that one! Not referring to you personally. :grinning:

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If so it was further back than that. My father was Welsh, born in Bargoed, Glamorgan before the county was Balkanised, and my mother’s father came from Cardiff. In the 40’s and 50’s I spent many a holiday with Welsh relatives in the Valleys. You almost never heard Welsh spoken in the homes, shops or streets. My father said that he got 5% for his final exam in Welsh, when I expressed an interest in learning Welsh he said he didn’t see the point of it. My Grandfather agreed. “Its just sentiment, boyo” was the comment. I can well believe that Welsh was widely spoken in the North, I often encountered it there in the early 60’s along with some pretty vicious anti-English sentiment - though they were happy to take English money! In the south it was much less visible.

Perhaps. As far as my friends in the local climbing club are concerned it is considered important to get the names right - the “nails in the Horseshoe” are Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl, yr Wyddfa and y Llewedd - but the range, the mountain group, is Snowdon. They do their best with both Welsh and Gaelic though some of the sounds do not come naturally to an English speaker.

A final point. That “colonisation” bit does go both ways. Since Monmouthshire was ceded to Wales there are Welsh signs going up and Welsh language being taught in the schools in areas that have been English for several hundred years and all the place names are English. I have friends in the Newport and Chepstow area that are quite bitter about Welshness being forced on them!

The modern day and Gwynedd are worlds apart from Cardiff in the 45s/50s I guess. Likewise the point about Monmouthshire and its status over many centuries could be argued strongly, but let’s not.

I just wanted to add that there’s a nice opinion piece by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in the Guardian. It’s a good read.

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If you cut out these letters and stick them onto stiff cardboard you can enhance your Scrabble set so you can play Welsh Scrabble. :slight_smile:

letter-l letter-l letter-l

letter-w letter-w
letter-y letter-y letter-y


I think Blencathra (G/LD-008) sounds much better than Saddleback.
73 Matt

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Don’t mind either way. I have attempted to learn Welsh in the past, only so I can at least pronounce the names of the Mountains correctly. It might even get more chasers!

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I think many chasers never even see the names of the summits that they chase, just the numbers!

I’m very much looking forward to listening to Jimmy @M0HGY attempting to pronounce “Disgwylfa Fawr” tomorrow morning! Serves him right for insisting upon phone modes!

I am being much more sensible by restricting myself to CW and FT8 and thus avoiding such mouth gymnastics.

Having said that, I played in the pit orchestra for a pantomime back in 1988, and that railway station in Anglesey was in the script. Three shows a day, every day for five weeks, and ever since I have been able to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch almost perfectly ever since!